Ivan Rakitic leaves Barcelona with his head high

After the 8-2 humiliation against Bayern Munich, there were always going to be casualties, and not just on the coaching side.

The result was so cataclysmic for the Catalans, that if a root and branch clear out wasn’t necessary, then something approaching it probably was.

Barca’s lowest ebb of this millennium needed strong decisions to finally be made, no matter what.After Ronald Koeman was installed as coach, it was immediately apparent which players were in the firing line.

Luis Suarez was quickly told he would be dispensed with, a decision which apparently contributed to Lionel Messi making it clear that he no longer saw a future at the club.

At the time of writing, both of those players still remain as employees of the club, although depending on what sources you get your news from, that could be about to change in the not too distant future.

Arturo Vidal is another thought to be negotiating his exit from Barcelona, as the Blaugranes look to begin the new season with a more youthful outlook.

One player that has already departed for pastures new is Ivan Rakitic.

The Croatian has played the fullest part in Barca’s successes since he joined the club six years ago, and has won 13 titles in that time.

Unfortunately, for a section of Barcelona’s demanding fan base, he was never good enough.

At just £15m he was a true bargain, and has remained consistent throughout his time at the Camp Nou.

He is the foreigner with the fourth highest amount of appearances for Barca and he also has the highest average of games played over each season since he arrived.

Time isn’t kind to any man and it’s ostensibly true that he’s lost a little of the dynamism that made Barcelona dip into their pockets for him in the first place.

However, he was still a valued member of the first-team squad, and one of a very few who no one has a bad word to say about. That’s the sign of a consummate professional.

His sale brings the curtain down on his time but also allows the youth that are banging on Ronald Koeman’s door to be given a chance.

At least Rakitic can walk out of the club with his head held high, knowing that he always gave his best. Barcelona themselves gave him a decent send-off which speaks volumes.

Just a shame that he wasn’t appreciated by all culers.

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